Knowledge is power. We try to accumulate as much knowledge as we can. It gives us deeper understanding, it gives us insight, it helps us learn things or become aware of things we may have missed.

The more knowledge we have, the better prepared we might be in addressing challenges, recognizing new opportunities, and managing risk.

Knowledge is power.

But sometimes we wield knowledge and that power as a weapon. We keep the knowledge to ourselves, we exploit it to our advantage, we use it to disadvantage others–our people, our colleagues, our customers, our managers.

There’s an interesting thing about knowledge and sharing knowledge. Shared knowledge builds trust. Sharing knowledge openly continues to build trust and we find more knowledge is shared with us. We continue to build and expand our capability and ability to achieve.

Likewise, when there is no trust, no knowledge is shared. We don’t learn anything new, we may be missing things that are important to our ability to achieve. We’ve all experienced this, customers who won’t open up. Colleagues who won’t help, managers who limit our ability to succeed.

It’s a fascinating mechanism that tends to snowball over time.

But the converse is true. Hoarding and weaponizing knowledge destroys trust. As a result, less knowledge is shared. Instead of expanding our knowledge and ability to achieve, it is reduced. We become isolated. The knowledge which we carefully hoarded and weaponized becomes dated, inaccurate, limiting. And we are unable to acquire and build new knowledge.

Knowledge is power, but shared knowledge is far more powerful–it enables us and those with whom we share it to achieve much more.

And isn’t that the point?

If we want to create greater value for our customers, our people, our companies, we do so by sharing knowledge and building trust.

Read more: Don’t Get Cocky About Your Knowledge